Download a transcript of this episode
- [2:28] Exercise Ball Chairs
- [4:27] Strength Gains On Paleo vs. Rippetoe’s Gallon Of Milk
- [14:38] How To Become a Good Trainer or Coach
- [25:24] Weightlifting Percentages
- [35:50] Red Meat Harvard Study
- [46:39] Recovery After Being Paralyzed
1. big ass balls
Hey there, In an attempt to get my sleep in check I’m quitting my night job and taking a desk day job. Is there any benefit to sitting on one of those big exercise balls? Thanks.
2. Paleo vs. Rippetoe and his gallon of whole milk
I went to a Starting Strength Seminar in Redmond, WA recently. I was told by Mark Rippetoe and some other coaches that I need to put on 40 lbs. I am 6’4″ and weigh 220 right now. I really don’t want to weigh 260. Of course the advice of Rippetoe is to drink a gallon of whole milk every day. I mentioned that I eat paleo and he said something about biochemistry BS. He actually made me finish his double bacon meatloaf and mash potatoes when we were eating dinner Saturday night. How many people can say that they finished Mark Rippetoe’s dinner? He said I would lift better the next day. I do want to get stronger, hence the reason I forked out the dough to attend this seminar, but I do not want to chug a gallon of whole milk a day. Do you think someone can see the same strength gains eating paleo as someone who consumes the gallon of milk a day? Are there certain foods that I should be concentrating on consuming to help with strength gains and recovery? Anything I should eat pre and post workout to maximize my training?
On a side note, the owner of the facility we were at, mentioned he stayed with you in a hotel room once and he woke up at 0300 to find you eating a can of sardines while doing a handstand. What is up with that?
Thanks for your input
3. good coaching
Hey Greg and Robb,
I am thirty years old and i have been training pretty consistently now for about six years, “crossfitting” for the last two and a half. I have a background in wrestling and triathlon, but now I am biasing my training toward power lifting and strong man (strange transition I know) and have recently competed in a few events with descent results. I do eat fairly strict paleo with some dairy products thrown in. My question has to do with coaching rather than diet.
I am level one CF certified and would like to pursue coaching however i am very aware that there are significant flaws in the strict crossfit methodology. I do want to coach in a crossfit box, however I do not want to be a coach who relies solely on the main site wods and information that is drip fed down from headquarters (like so many unfortunately do). I have heard you advise people to go to gyms where staff are actually qualified to do personal training and have an idea of what to do with people who present special challenges (fibromyalgia for instance). Here’s my problem. I have had some success programming for myself with quite a lot of trial and error, but I still do not feel confident to programme for others especially special populations ( Im uncomfortable with the idea of trial and error with others). Are there good books to read, courses to take, websites/ organisations to look up? Is the NSCA a good starting place or not? What else is out there? A lot of people around me are telling me to just start using the main site wods with clients and progress my knowledge from there, but I cant help but think that there must be a more scientific and tailored starting point. I guess the crux of my question is where do you learn how to effectively programme for individuals without hurting them? I want to be a high quality coach within crossfit, not just another crossfit “coach”. Any advice would be welcome. Thanks for all you guys do.
(Robb’s recommended reading / Greg’s recommended reading)
4. percentage of what?
Robb and Greg,
I’m still a relatively young for a strength coach (25), but I’ve been in and around the collegiate strength and conditioning as well as private training scene for 6 years. The one thing I see strength coaches agree less on than anything is the use of percentages. A strength coach that I have a lot of respect for looked at one of my programs and asked me why I didn’t include percentages. All I could think was, “percentages of what?”
Greg, I know you use percentages on your website. When I see 85% x 1 x 3, is that 85% of what my 1RM is when I’ve had 10 hrs of sleep, no stress, and I’m gloating over a “colleague” being rated the 96th most influential person in fitness? Or do I take into account that my girlfriend just ran off with the pool boy and I got 4 hrs of sleep last night after my new puppy filled the house with his best work? Considering that I’m not feeling my best, how would I adjust the percentage?
Typically, I go with Eric Cressey’s approach of going as heavy as I can for a given rep scheme that day, and then making sure I’ve done at least 90% of that load for a given number of repetitions. For example, if I was going for a heavy triple on shoulder press, my rep scheme my look like this: 3RM, 3×3>90%. So if I warmed up to a 3rm by going 135×3, 155×3, 185×3, then 200×3 for my max that day, I would still need to just get 2 more sets of 3 reps at at least 180lb.
I know there are a bunch of ways to get strong, but what are your thoughts on set percentages vs. more of a Westside “feel it out” approach? Thanks.
5. Harvard study stating that all red meat is bad for you regardless of quantity
Love your podcast. I recently read an article in the LA times that reports about a Harvard medical study that indicates that all red meat, any amount and any type, is bad for you: http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-red-meat-20120313,0,565423.story. I have been mostly Paleo for the better part of 1.5 years and have seen great results in terms of strength, weight loss, muscle recover etc. While I enjoy the Paleo lifestyle, I don’t want to increase my chance of early mortality by 19%.
I am just curious if you have any thoughts on the study or if you can make suggestions on other studies that indicate otherwise.
A fan of your podcast,
(If you missed Robb’s thought’s on the Red Meat “study”, that is here).
6. Living my dream, to be paralyzed
What’s up Robb and that other dude. Just joking, what’s up Greg.
I’m 25 years old and an avid follower of the podcast and all things paleo. Been a strict paleo eater for about a year and a half now and am constantly researching/learning as much as I can.
3 and a half weeks ago I was living my dream: going to University studying nutrition/biochemistry, working as a professional skydiver filming tandems and teaching people how to fly wingsuits, gigging music on weekends, lifting heavy and focusing on strength (with prior experience/overtraining in CrossFit), and eating well.
I came back from school on Wednesday, February 15 and went to make a few practice jumps before leaving that evening for a canopy piloting competition in California. My passion in the sport is canopy piloting: flying very small, very fast parachutes with focus on speed, distance, and accuracy. It’s the most dangerous discipline in skydiving, with little margin for error. For those of you interested, look up “swooping.”
Anyways, I had a catastrophic accident which has effectively changed my life. I shattered my back at T12, broke my right ankle and left tib/fib. I went in for emergency surgery that day and had my spine fused from T3 to T12 with reconstruction of T12. I also developed compartment syndrome in both thighs and my right leg resulting in big time fasciotomies. I have sutures down the entire length of my back, on both sides from my hips to my knees, and down the entire right leg, on the inside and outside. As of now I am a paraplegic with no bowel, bladder, or sexual function. I have some patchy sensation in my legs, so there is hope. I started rehab and was there for a week but was pulled out 5 days ago because the incision in my back split open and became infected. Wound revision surgery was carried out and that’s where I am now as of this writing. Pretty gnarly shit.
I find it rather comedic that the food here in the hospital is so crappy. Being a place for healing, wouldn’t you really think they’d get their shit together (rhetorical question)? I’ve been ordering as much real food as I can: meat, veggies, fruit, and have had friends bring me some stuff, but avoiding additives, preservatives, and the like is not totally possible here. I am at a fantastic facility (Barrows Institute in Arizona) that is world renowned for spinal care. I’ve already had the dietitian talk to me once about the importance of eating heart healthy whole grains and told me I shouldn’t keep avoiding them, and that I should be careful of my moderate to large meat consumption. I smiled, nodded, and wanted to punch her in the face. She was fat.
I guess my question is: what would be your dietary/supplemental focus if you were in my situation? My body has gone through a shit load of trauma and still is. I know miracles happen and I so hope I’ll be able to walk again. But nonetheless, how should I eat to promote the best progress? Before I was eating high fat/high protein/low carb on non workout days and high carb/high protein/low fat on workout days. I would say my hospital intake has been low fat/high carb/moderate protein if I had to guess. What general ratio would you recommend? 40:30:30? (just kidding). What supplements would you recommend, if any? Any other advice? Thoughts?
I’m going through a lot right now, emotionally and physically. The big thing I guess is coping. I appreciate all you guys do for the world. You truly are amazing individuals.
P.S. I apologize for incorrect grammar, run-ons, etc. I’m high on fentanyl.
Greg’s new E-book – The Portable Greg Everett: Collected Articles 2005-2012
You had me at Big Ass Balls, but Greg took it to another level with the Blue Balls anecdote. Well done, sirs.
Travis D says
Greg – I loved the cadaver comment. High point of my commute this morning.
Greg S. says
Great episode. Question regarding the rep maxes from Question 4. Could be I misinterpreted, but I thought I heard Greg say that they work better for the person who can truly push themselves to that 3/5 rep max vs. the person who doesn’t have experience or ability. But then later, Robb is saying that a lot of people push TOO hard on a rep max set.
Could you guys dish any more wisdom that can help me get this right? I am interested in this both for myself and coaching at the gym. Thanks!
Robb Wolf says
No, I was reinforcing what Greg said which was that folks can push TOO HARD. That’s where % may be necessary to reign folks in.
Just wanted to say thanks for keeping up the good fight Robb. I’m sure repeating yourself over and over again against BS studies is getting annoying. I’ve already had to talk to like 10 people this week about it and it’s just plain annoying how people freak out so damn easily.
By the way, the canned sardines and hand stand thing was ridiculously hilarious. I got a total visual!
I tried that drinking whole milk thing. I did not go for a gallon a day, but it still made me sick. And it was lactaid milk. No wonder I’ve had a life-long aversion to all things dairy. The paleo community has helped me out of the whole, “gotta have mass” thing I’ve absorbed from all the bodyduilding media out there that trumps other forms of weight training.
Amy Kubal says
I tried 1/2 GOMAD and seriously, I still don’t care if I ever drink milk again – EVER!!!
Nathan Pai Schmitt says
Really great–especially the last two Qs. Could you post study references for Kay re: ketone solution to give to his docs? I’ve had some pretty gnarly lung surgeries (story for another day, but nutrition-related) and found that my specialists in particular often would agree to let me try something if I referenced a study or two. Not necessarily a good thing, but if the goal is just to get them to agree to alternative treatment, it might be enough.
Robb Wolf says
Hey Amigo! I just grabbed a quickie google search:
Traumatic brain injury Ketosis is what got that. I am slammed gettign ready for the kiddo, can you drop in a few links you like to stuff you find? Gracias!!
Michael Acanfora, DC says
What is way cool about this is that the ketognic diet is working directly on the tau proteins that have accumulated in the brain following a traumatic brain injury. BTW, also seen in Parkinson’s Disease (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tau_protein). Colleague of mine in NYC is utilizing paleo, IF and chiropractic with traumatic brain injury getting fascinating results!!!
Regarding the meat study, unfortunately just follow the money trail. That’s said part about research today, almost all funded by big pharma and special interest. According to Craig Lambert in Harvard magazine 2003, about 70% of clinical research is now funded by drug companies.
what? bad science?!? WOLF MAD!!!! GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!
I totally laughed at Greg’s Charles Whitman joke. I’ve only been to Austin a few times but the first time I went I kept asking my then girlfriend if she knew where the Charles Whitman Tower was. I would also ask random people on the street the same question. She didn’t know who that was but assumed it was some hero from the Mexican war or something. When I told her who he was she got mad at me and thought some big Texan would beat my ass for asking. She’s not my girlfriend anymore but she’ll never forget who Charles Whitman was.
Robb Wolf says
HA! If I’m ever sick we need to get you to sit in for me on the show man. HA!!
As long as you don’t send me any more cricket sounds when my attempts at being funny don’t go over so well.
I think we miss Rippetoe’s point if we focus strictly on the gallon of milk.
Rippetoe’s innovation is the distinction between novice, intermediate, advanced, and elite phases of training.
The “Starting Strength” program assumes that your goal is to get as big and strong as your genetics allow as FAST as possible. It also assumes that you are a novice strength athlete and are far from your genetic potential. This is one of Rippetoe’s main points. The gallon of milk is for skinny “hardgainers.” Not everyone has the same problem with their weight. Some people have a hard time gaining weight.
A novice shouldn’t eat and train like John Welbourne because John Welbourne is an elite athlete (in Rippetoe’s terminology the athlete progresses from novice, to intermediate, to advanced, to elite with the latter two categories being rare achievements). An advanced or elite athlete is working very close to their genetic potential while a novice is far from their genetic potential. Welbourne couldn’t add 15 pounds to his squat a week, but a novice lifter can. A novice lifter can squat 3 times a week and add 5 pounds to the bar each workout. A novice lifter can recover and adapt between workouts. A novice makes daily progress and can add 15 pounds a week to their squat for months if they eat big and sleep.
During the “novice phase,” Rip argues, you will make the biggest strength and size gains of your life. As you get closer to your genetic potential the gains slow and you wont be able to recover in-between workouts. You will be an intermediate, and you won’t be doing the starting strength program anymore. If you stick with Rips programming you will move to Texas Method which shoots for weekly progress, rather than daily progress, and aims to add 5 pounds a week to your squat. If you stick to it you will eventually progress beyond the intermediate stage and require more advanced programming that attempts to make monthly progress, something like Wendler’s 5/3/1 where the goal is to add 5 pounds to your squat in a month of training. There is a big difference between what a novice can do and what an advanced athlete can do. It takes an advanced athlete a month to add 5 pounds to the bar while it takes the novice a day. It is easier to go from 135 to 140 then it it is to go from 405 to 410.
Rippetoe’s point is that at 6′ 4 and 220 pounds you are still a novice. You can get much bigger and much stronger. Why not do it as quickly as possible and then tweak from there?
I went to a starting strength seminar in Brooklyn and when Rip saw me he said, “you need to gain 30 pounds.”
The next day he said “you need to gain 40… 70 pounds!”
“but I eat a lot” I said.
“I don’t see you eating right now.” he replied.
Then it clicked. I was 6 feet tall and I weighed 170. I was a pencil neck even though I had the much sought after 6 pack. I did eat a lot. Tons of Avocado, tons of coconut milk, tons of meat. But I didn’t gain any weight. When I got back home I stared eating seriously big. I was a lot less strict. I ate a lot more carbs. I ate my bacon and eggs for breakfast and then I ate a couple of bowls of rice krispes with light cream. After meat and vegetables for lunch I ate more cereal or ice cream. After dinner I ate until I went to sleep. I drank milk and protein shakes with nut butter throughout the day.
I went from 170 to 200 in 3 months. I lost my six pack but gained a chest. I very good trade! My appearance improved dramatically despite my newly developed gut. My sex life improved because a big chest is more impressive then a six pack and being a lot stronger helps too.
I didn’t drink a gallon of milk a day because I can’t digest that much milk. I drank a couple of glasses of milk and added a lot of carbs.
“Starting Strength” is for healthy people who want to get big and strong fast. It is not a diet for life. It is temporary. It is a mistake to compare a GOMAD to the paleo diet because the paleo diet is a diet for life where the goal is optimum health. The gallon of milk is an attempt to provide the calories necessary to drive a temporary growth spurt that gets you close to your genetic potential for size and strength as quickly as possible.
Panagiotis Grigorakis says
Excellent podcast, especially the part on what passes as science these days. I wonder if the people who knowingly design these studies and then make recommendations for millions of people to follow have any shame. But then again, they might have drunk so much of the meat-is-evil kool-aid that they don’t even realise it.
I also would like a clarification. Greg mentioned that you can build strength without adding too much mass by keeping your reps low (I am guessing 3-5), weight high (something like 85-90% of 1RM?). So far, so good. He did say however something about medium volume. Any chance of quantifying that? Would it be something like 3-5 sets or more like 8-12?
Greg Everett says
Reps more like 1-3. How many sets will depend largely on the exercise, what else you’re doing, who you are and a number of other factors. Generally, 3-5 sets is probably what you’re looking at.
Panagiotis Grigorakis says
Straight from the expert! Thank you Greg!
Per question #1, I’d like to throw out a plug for a stand up desk. I built mine by just putting a couple of milk crates on top of my desk with a piece of plywood across the top. My keyboard, mouse, and monitor sit on top, and my laptop is docked underneath. I roll a chair over to my side table if I need to sit for a task, but I might go for a week or more without sitting at work.
It appears you typed in the URL for Catalyst Athletics wrong. It should be: http://www.cathletics.com/resources/recommended.php
Just in case people want to check it out.
Robb Wolf says
Marie Gagné says
I always enjoy listening the podcast and your comments! You are hilarious, knowledgable, and damn always to the point!
In particular, the segment with Robb’s thought’s on the Red Meat “study” is priceless! I am myself a scientist, a Rocket scientist per say (Ph.D. in Planetray Sciences for credibility!) but science is science, and I could not stop thanking out loud when Robb stood up against bad science and the lack of a scientific method in a lost of published studies, including this one about red meat.
Thanks Robb for being upfront with this issue!
Brenden Valks says
Hi Robb & Greg,
Just wanted to say I enjoy the background noise as of late in the background. I am assuming it’s from Greg’s end but hearing weights hit the floor is rad?
Yes red meat study is bs, but demanding metabolic wards as the standard of proof seems a bit ironic when the paleo community is founded on epidemiology, the fact that the paleo diet vs Mediterranean diet without a metabolic ward, just a food recall is held as the gold standard of proof that paleo works better than other diets and mentioned constantly, and constant n=1 from testimonials. Yes metabolic ward studies are great, and they all disprove the metabolic advantage of low carb diets, yet that doesn’t stop Gary Taubes does it? Vegans have lots of testimonials too, so what does that prove other than they were probably eating worse beforehand? Call BS science when you see it sure, but just because a pig study on paleo food supports your argument that doesn’t give it any more weight, that’s just confirmation bias believing in the studies that support you and ripping apart the ones that don’t. Same with testimonials. Sure, it’s great to hear about people’s results, every diet has testimonials though. You’re starting to remind me of a particular fitness luminary who claims that ‘we got the science’ and that market share supports your contention. Every time you say how popular paleo is, remember how popular 60 minute metcons are. You’re better than that Robb. I expect plenty of vile from this, but take a hard look in the mirror robb and remember the dangers of surrounding yourself with yes men… there as 1000+ page threads on the internet about what happens with uncontrolled power mixed with good intentions.
I just can’t wait to use the term “fire plug” in a sentence this week.
Ectomorphs will inherit the Earth!!!
Andre Chimene says
Great answer on K’s paralysis. K…I was there with my wife 2 years ago. A double hemmoragic stroke, massive bleeding with 2 platinum coils placed in the bleeds. Now what? The docs at Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles were great for triage…but as far as healing, no clue. On day 2 they told me that they have never seen this much bleeding with someone who has lived…so far. “If she lives, she has a 95% chance to be a vegetable in a wheel chair. From day 6 to day 21 after the event, like after shocks come after the quake, vaso spasms come and ischemic strokes follow. Because of this massive bleed, your wife will have these. We don’t know how to stop them but we will be ready when they do.” That was not good enough for me. I called Dr. Ron Rosedale. He said, “I know why they come. Blood vessels in the brain are no different than the rest of the body. High blood sugar and high insulin are both vaso spasmotic. Get her off the nasal feeding tube (solution over 65% maltodexrin) and the subsequent excess inulin they were giving her as they drove her blood sugars over 200. We pulled the NG tube out of her nose, stopped the insulin, her blood sugar returned to normal. Started feeding her fish oil, magnesium, fat fat fat/moderate protein. Battled every dietician from the top to the bottom and the doctors. The quality of the hospital matters not at all when it comes to diet. They know nothing about healing. They kept trying the “she needs glucose bullshit. Mylen sheath etc. all need fat. End result. Today, 2 years later, she is a “1 in a million” miracle. Lost 30 lbs of fat, back to working out 5 days week, performing 1 hour of standup comedy per night, raising kids…better than before the event. K…you can do this. It can be done. Robb is right. High fat/moderate protein/low carb/ketogenic. I participated in this healing. It is based on the science of biology. Be the one in a million. If there is any miracle here, it is the miracle of science. Thanks for the great answer Robb. I was living the last 2 years again.
Andre Chimene says
Sorry…supplements as you do the keto diet. Fish oil, biottled, refrigerated, like Carlsons or Nordi Naturals. 1-2 teaspoons per day. Coconut oil, coconut butter. As much as you can get down to help with the ketosis. Curry powder in hot tea or water adding in some heavy cream. Great Cox 2 inhibitor. (anti inflam). Get a blood sugar meter from Wal MArt (cheap), learn to use it. Alpha Lipoic Acid will help. I gave my wife 300mgs per day, with 1 mg of biotin. Eggs or just the egg yolk for choline and cholesterol.(cellular repair). Acetyl l carnitine, carnosine, choline, Give Robb your details so we can set up a supplement donation jar. I’m in.
Hey guys, great show. Just to let you know Rippetoe himself has said he follows a Paleo diet when questioned on his forum and in his recent Reddit Q&A, and he suggests this approach in his 3rd edition for overweight people, using the term specifically. Makes me doubt him calling it “nonsense”.
Raw Truth says
“Yes red meat study is bs, but demanding metabolic wards as the standard of proof seems a bit ironic when the paleo community is founded on epidemiology, the fact that the paleo diet vs Mediterranean diet without a metabolic ward, just a food recall is held as the gold standard of proof that paleo works better than other diets and mentioned constantly, and constant n=1 from testimonials. Yes metabolic ward studies are great, and they all disprove the metabolic advantage of low carb diets, yet that doesn’t stop Gary Taubes does it? Vegans have lots of testimonials too, so what does that prove other than they were probably eating worse beforehand? Call BS science when you see it sure, but just because a pig study on paleo food supports your argument that doesn’t give it any more weight, that’s just confirmation bias believing in the studies that support you and ripping apart the ones that don’t. Same with testimonials. Sure, it’s great to hear about people’s results, every diet has testimonials though. You’re starting to remind me of a particular fitness luminary who claims that ‘we got the science’ and that market share supports your contention. Every time you say how popular paleo is, remember how popular 60 minute metcons are. You’re better than that Robb. I expect plenty of vile from this, but take a hard look in the mirror robb and remember the dangers of surrounding yourself with yes men… there as 1000+ page threads on the internet about what happens with uncontrolled power mixed with good intentions.”
Nice comment Bill –
So Robb – You still need to address your double standard -one minute Bunk studies are bunk and the next min you are posting the BS study on Red Meat cutting depression in 1/2…..
Meat is good for feeding the Reptilian brain
Margret Gilfoy says
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